The most aggressive gravel tire

After moving to the Oregon Valley and discovering what multiple months of rain and mud really is, I had nearly retired my gravel bike for any ride that wasn’t on groomed fire roads or asphalt. This last spring I switched to the Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite’s as a last ditch effort to revive wet condition gravel rides. Without a doubt the Ultrabite is Schwalbe’s most off-road intended gravel tire, finding traction in the mud and muck as well as the rocky and rough dry trails.

Schwalbe’s G-One lineup covers gravel tires for all surfaces and conditions, from the more road-focused G-One Speed through to the mainly off-road Ultrabites. With an E-25 rating for use on eBikes, the G-One Ultrabite performs great as a set for the most extreme off-road gravel rides, or as a companion to a more Allroad rear tire for a more varied use case.

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The Lab

As mentioned, the G-One Ultrabite is the most aggressive tire in the Schwalbe gravel range. Its performance and application is best suited for: gravel, dry/wet trail, and mud, with less focus on ultimate rolling speed and efficiency.

The Ultrabite is available in either Performance Line or Evolution Line. The Evolution Line uses the Super Ground tire casing with an Addix Speedgrip compound for $88. The cheaper Performance Line comes in Race Guard casing with an Addix Performance compound, weighing slightly more than the Evolution line tire and with a slightly reduced grip.

Regardless of the option you choose, they all are Tubeless Ready (TLE) and E-25 certified for ebike use. The Ultrabite comes in versions to fit either 650 or 700c wheels, with 40c, 45c, 50c width options. Additionally, for select sizes, Schwalbe has different sidewall colors available.

Now the Ultrabite isn’t the lightest weight tire in its class, ranging from 530g-665g per tire depending on the version and size selected. Although it’s heavier than your average gravel tire, for eBikes you won’t have to worry about the weight penalty, and the increased traction on offer may go some way to increasing overall efficiency when the terrain gets particularly slippery with mud or dust. Equally, a heavier tire goes hand in hand with being durable enough for the rough and rugged off-road trails, giving you the peace of mind that you should be able to ride without getting a flat.

Ultimate grip on rough trails and in the mud

With a seemingly never-ending wet spring full of muddy trails, wet leaves, and slippery roots, the Ultrabite made a dramatic improvement to the grip compared with the outgoing G-One Speed, letting me ride more confidently and giving me the ability to pedal through the muck. As things have dried out, high speed rocky gravel descents and dancing in and out of loamy single track continue to deliver grip and traction in every corner, letting me ride as close to a mountain bike as I’ve yet on a gravel machine.

The Aggressive tread design of the Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite is composed of “tape-knobs” in the middle and strong blocks on the outer. The combination of this tread pattern provides traction and smooth rolling when upright, with a mountain bike tire like grip in the corners when the bike is leaned over. As a pairing, this has produced unrivaled grip and traction for the trails. On the other hand, if your riding conditions are mixed pavement and trail or mainly hardpack dirt roads, taking a bit of wisdom from the mountain bike world and running the traction up front with something more efficient and faster rolling in the rear may be the ideal setup to increase rolling speeds without sacrificing all control.

Most of my gravel rides begin about 12 miles from my doorstep, and there is an element of feeling bad riding such aggressive tires on the road to get there. That being said, the rolling resistance and general wear on the commute haven’t seemed to affect grip levels off-road. When considering the rolling resistance the Ultrabite offers, on the Niner RLT e9 RDO with a Bosch mid drive, the overall range per full charge has been affected by an unmeasurably small amount. On a lesser powered electric gravel bike or a standard gravel bike the Ultrabite will have a greater impact on both battery range and rider energy levels. So it’s worth considering if it’ll be worth it for you.

With summer in full swing and taking the advice from Schwalbe, switching the rear out to an Allroad with the Ultrabite up front is so far proving to be a good middle ground for long days in the woods. I would note that if you have a commute like myself, it’s worth riding with a pump to regulate tire pressures between the pavement and trails, helping keep the tires as efficient as possible and tailor their performance to the terrain below. With relatively low pressures, the performance of the G-One Ultrabite tires is seriously impressive off-road, but airing back up for smoother terrain feels to make considerable improvements to rolling speed and efficiency.

Final Thoughts

There are very few things that affect how well a bike performs as much as tires do. As your only point of contact with the ground below, it’s worth paying attention to the terrain you’ll be riding and the tires you’re running to ensure you have the right balance of efficiency and traction. The Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite tires make a considerable difference for the rugged and wet terrain over your more conventional slicker tread gravel tires. For riders that see more of a mix of pavement and trail or have long hardpack dirt roads, these may not be the best for them. For us, the Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite in the Evolution Line with the Super Ground Compound and Addix Speedgrip Casing offers considerable benefits for year-round gravel riding on the more extreme off-road terrain.

Price: $64-88
Sizing: 650x(40, 50) & 700x(40, 45, 50)
Sidewall Colors: Black, Bronze, Classic

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